Letter: Tea party politics are lost in history

I have observed that members of the tea party share two common characteristics. The first is that they do not know history, even recent history.

The Affordable Care Act (derogatorily referred to by its opponents as “Obamacare”) was conceived by the intensely conservative Heritage Foundation, embraced by GOP Gov. Mitt Romney, and successfully implemented in Massachusetts. The version enacted by Congress was criticized by some for being more conservative than that which was proposed by the Heritage Foundation.

Which leads me to the second point: Tea partiers seem to be ignorant of the processes of governance. Affordable Care started out as a bill in 2009 that was hotly debated in both chambers of Congress, aggressively negotiated by Republicans and Democrats and eventually signed into law by the president. This is how a bill becomes law, as everyone who’s ever read a civics book knows.

The Republicans made the Affordable Care Act a key attack point in their failed effort to defeat the president’s re-election, but he went on to easily win a second term, elected by a majority of Americans.

A quick check of congressional history shows that the histrionic efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act by the Republican Party, including my own tea party representative, Steve Scalise, has never happened before; that is, shutting down the federal government and threatening to stop Congress from raising the debt ceiling in order to repeal a properly enacted law.

Oh, did I forget to mention that it was a law that was subjected to a rigorous constitutional challenge before a conservative Supreme Court and was nonetheless approved? So, what is driving these temper tantrums, misrepresentations and even lies from the GOP? To be sure, it is not “Obamacare.” Today’s Republican Party reminds me of the Southern Democrats before the Democratic Party embraced desegregation and the equal treatment of all before the law. Fold in the States Rights Party and the John Birch Society, and, sadly, you have the anti-Obama faction of my GOP.

Terrence Verigan

technology consultant

Metairie